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Bypassing the Mind

by Rabbi Shimon Posner


Library » Holidays » Rosh Hashanah » Essays | Subscribe | What is RSS?


Leather seats, user-friendly ticketing, signature blue chips and 16 channel satellite TV makes Jetblue. Before takeoff, their TV screens flash a "Thank you for flying with us. Without you, we’d just be flying a bunch of TV’s around the sky."

From day one to day six, the One in the sky was, as it were, feeling low about the earth (and the sky) He was creating. Everything was working in perfect symmetry; it was all faultlessly first class. But. . . .

It took Adam and Eve to take it all in and recognize that "there is symmetry here, and with symmetry comes purpose. A purpose encompassing everything but encompassed by nothing. Behind a purpose is a Planner -- and that planner is all that is important. And we will call him. Let’s call him G-d."

That was the first Rosh Hashanah, the first day of the new year, the first day of creation, which was – if you’re counting days – the sixth day of creation. But the first day of anything that really counts – recognition of purpose.

Sometimes you can be startled into a new perception: As when you run into the street to catch a Frisbee and you hear an eighteen-wheeler screeching
Okay, so they (we) messed up as soon as the party got going and were kicked out into a new reality, a new world order where chaos seems to have the upper hand and purpose can only be seen by the help of a guide. A guidebook. A mentor. Study. And focus.

In this newer reality, we must inculcate ourselves to recognize purpose. To see chaos as temporary (from the word temporal) and illusionary. As you probably noticed, that takes hard work. Nothing is harder than changing an outlook.

Unless, you get lucky.

Sometimes you can be startled into a new perception: As when you run into the street to catch a Frisbee and you hear an eighteen-wheeler screeching. Your Frisbee reality is disrupted.

As when you get to the office by 8:30 for another high-pressured day of appointments and at 8:46 a jetliner crashes into your building.

As when you hear the Shofar.

These all bypass your mind and are absorbed straight through your kishkes. Their effect is sudden, stark and powerful. And after the shock they pass quickly, too.

But even in a startled moment, your head can kick in too. Call it a resolution; grasp the wild, elusive energy and channel it into something manageable and enduring. It will slow the energy down a bit, but you will be able to keep it.

And with resolution, the chaos in life focuses into the purpose in life.

We become grateful that an Almighty Creator has imbued tiny, miserable us with purpose and we thank Him for it. And somewhere up above the skies, He too wishes a sweet year with high resolution. He says something like, "Thank you. Without you, I’d just be flying a bunch of monitors above the skies."


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Rosh Hashanah
The Jewish New Year. An early autumn two day holiday marking the creation of Adam and Eve. On this day we hear the blasts of the ram's horn and accept G-d's sovereignty upon ourselves and the world. On Rosh Hashanah we pray that G-d should grant us all a sweet New Year.
The horn of a Kosher animal. The Shofar is sounded on the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, and is intended to awaken us to repentance. Also blown to signify the conclusion of the Yom Kippur holiday.
The first man, created by G-d on the sixth day of creation. He was banished from the Garden of Eden after eating from the forbidden fruit of the forbidden knowledge. Died in 2830 BCE.
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.